There are certain times of the day when the ringing of the telephone tolls bad news. When the phone rings at 2am, you can bet a wooden nickel you're not being notified you won Megabucks. A phone call an hour after you delivered your little people to school, is usually to inform you that said little person is tossing Cheerios in the nurse's office.
My telephone buzzed at 10 pm. I wrinkled my nose in annoyance as I thought the call would be from one of the election parties asking me to endorse their candidate. Caller ID flashed the Weebles number. An icy fist clenched my heart. A phone call from the Weebles at 10pm could not be good news. I wondered which one had fallen or had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. Adrenaline is coursing through my system. I can feel my heart pounding against my rib cage. I grab the receiver and bark, "What's wrong?"
Ma is on the other end of the line. "You didn't put the handicap parking card back in my pocketbook!" (This last is pronounced "pock-uh-book")
I look at the receiver in my hand as if I'm holding an object I have never seen before in my entire life. A glance at the computer clock indicates, it is indeed past 10 pm at night. Thoughts flash through my head at lightning speed. It's 10 pm, where the hell are you going now? You and your girl friends heading up to the Golden Banana? Why are you calling me about this NOW? Why didn't you call at 4pm? Or after supper?
To recap: Twelve hours earlier I had taken her to Target to pick up refills on her prescriptions. I had tried to tell her I could have Himself pick up the stuff on his way to school. She insisted she had to sign for them. As I headed up the road, she informed me "Your father doesn't go this way." (i.e. You are going the wrong way) I try to keep my voice light. "This is the route the number 9 bus takes. If you don't like this route, you can wait on the corner for another bus to come along." At the pharmacy desk, I ask the pharmacist if anyone could pick up a refill for Ma. We are cheerily told "Yes, you can even call ahead and we'll have it ready for you." I had the urge to stick my tongue out. So there!
"I put the card in your purse."
"Well, it's not there! I looked."
"Look again, because I put it in your purse." She puts the receiver down and goes to take another look. Pocketbook or purse is really a misnomer for the item Ma uses to carry her personal belongings. It is made of leather and that is the only resemblance to a pocketbook, purse, or handbag. It's made of leather and is roughly the size of a steamer trunk. It also has a thousand different flaps, pockets, nooks, and crannies. Some are open, close with a snap or a zipper.
"You put it in the wrong place!"
Mind you, my heart has been pounding and adrenaline has raced through my system. I can feel my short fuse now being ignited. "I put it in your purse." My reply is said tersely through my clenched teeth.
"What are you getting upset about?" I didn't give her a chance to finish with "You only made a mistake."
"Because I'm sick and tired of being told I go the WRONG way, and I put things back in the WRONG place. I put the card in your purse. If you don't like where I put it...." I can taste the word 'shove' on the tip of my tongue, and I quickly swallow it. "You can put it where you like."
She hung up the phone. Why didn't I just answer the phone, "Sorry, wrong number?"